WHEEL STRONG: Australian Compact Speed Car champion Danny Stainer, left, and New Zealand star Paul Le Cren will battle it out at Lismore Speedway tonight in the Trans-Tasman Challenge.
WHEEL STRONG: Australian Compact Speed Car champion Danny Stainer, left, and New Zealand star Paul Le Cren will battle it out at Lismore Speedway tonight in the Trans-Tasman Challenge. CATHY ADAMS

Tasman rivalry revs up

THE eternal question of whether Australia or New Zealand is better will be back on the agenda in the Trans-Tasman Compact Speedcar Challenge at the Lismore Speedway tonight.

Two Kiwis will face 34 Aussie drivers.

With their mechanical muscle on show, there will be standard and match races, featuring two drivers each from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand.

It's all part of Lismore Speedway's Australia Day long weekend promotion featuring big programs of racing tonight and tomorrow night.

Australian titleholder Danny Stainer is one of the Victorians taking up the challenge, and said the event would be 'great fun'.

“This has never happened before, and it's one of the highlights of the season,” he said.

“I just came for the experience and to have fun.”

While the challenge isn't a formal part of the racing season, the glory of taking it home for Australia will be well worth the effort.

“It'll be hard, because this is the first time I've seen the track,” Stainer said.

Paul Le Cren and Lawrence Baker will represent the Land of the Long White Cloud, their first time racing in Australia.

“It's a big challenge, with unfamiliar cars and an unfamiliar track,” Baker said.

“It's the unknown that's so good, and they ain't seen nothin' yet,” Le Cren said.

The pair are not racing their own cars, making it just that little bit more challenging.

Le Cren and Baker are neck-and-neck in their home competition, and admit they are 'very competitive', but said they would unite for the event tonight.

However, no matter how hard the Aussies push the Kiwis, a destruction derby isn't on the cards, especially given their vehicles are on loan.

“We're serious drivers, and don't muck around,” Le Cren said.

Baker agreed.

“To finish first, you have to finish.

“We just don't want to be lapped!”

After a family holiday with their 17-strong support team direct from New Zealand, Le Cren and Baker will now focus on the speedway.

Another import, US driver Jimmy Phelps, is hoping to take out top spot in the V8 Dirt Modified event.

“It's a great opportunity to come over,” Phelps said.

“We're looking forward to every challenge.”

The Troyer Factory driver from upstate New York hasn't tried out the Lismore track yet, but said he 'did some time watching videos of people racing on the track'.

“The Lismore track is on the small side compared to what we have at home, but I'm figuring it out and getting the car right for it,” he said.

Tickets will be available at the gate on both nights: Adults $25, pensioners $18, high school students $15, and children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult.

Want to know more?

Phelps compares Lismore track to New York



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